When I was nine, and my sister seven, we shared a bedroom in the attic of a Victorian house, in New England. We loved that pink triangular room, and the imaginary line that equally divided her side and mine, and it was not lost on us, that we were far removed from our extended paternal family, our parents, and the Irish triplets who shared a room of their own — downstairs.
It was not just the physical detachment, but on the heels of “making believe,” we began to transport each other to fictional realities at bedtime that began with a question, followed by an answer and finally a bidding, “What are you doing?” “I’m thinking.” “What are you thinking about?”
My stories would often begin with something truly extraordinary. Diana Ross had ten kids in 1964! She was twenty years old and married to Jorge — the Ebony Fashion Fair model who was the most beautiful man I had ever seen, and one of her children was my fourth grade classmate — a Puerto Rican named, Willie Sanchez. He told us to call him Willie. He was so cute!
Theirs was the perfect family! Jorge wore gray suede shoes and cardigans advertised in Jet and Ebony magazines, and the children wore clothing from the Alden and Spiegel Catalogs! Images were accessible and appropriated. The stories epic and uninterrupted — unless clarification was necessary, like “What time do the kids have to go to bed?”
I loved The Supremes! In the Sixties, Diana Ross was a delicate and beautiful remix of freedom from ugly restraint. I could scan a page for her name and find her like code! Ditty Bop. I could imitate her voice, her tone, inflection, her vibrato, choreography and her mannerisms!
In the Summer of 1965, I sang A cappella, “Where Did Our Love Go,” “Stop in the Name of Love,” and “Come See About Me,” on a makeshift stage in our back yard, and became an accidental star with a teenage fan base… but, I just wanted to be left alone to adore her.
Those oral narratives in the dark — were contiguous, on a continuum, interconnected, in medias res. When I think about — Trench People, I wonder what are Angela, Lisa and Nimrod’s musings and who are their muses? What would they like? What makes them click? TP’s Muse board is visible/linked below. It’s a living, breathing, WIP. It’s the pink room in the attic all over again! I wonder how my sister is doing? I wonder what she’s thinking…
Copyright © 2012, 2013 by Elaine Maria Shelton Speller